Welcome to SpaCeMonKeY UK, the blog of Helen Wells (nee Berrington, aka FieryFred) since 2002.





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SpaCeMonKeY UK

Monday, June 30

And what's with blogger time anyway? My PC and watch both say it's 23:59.

The previous post was actually posted on Sunday - for some reason my blogger time settings had changed to GMT-12. How that happened, no-one knows... 'tis truly a mystery. ;)

Drat, I forgot to mention that it was Brian's birthday yesterday! I spent most of last week remembering on and off, thinking, "Oh, I have to remember it's Brian's birthday on the 28th", and then I was so caught up with the wedding and so on that I forgot. D'oh!

Um, Brian is my laptop PC. I like him a lot. I think he might be feeling a bit sad, what with the criticisms that have been levelled at him recently re: not up to spec 3D graphics and rapidly diminishing hard drive space, but he's the first computer I've felt like this about since my first A1200. And I didn't name my A1200, so I suppose Brian's a step up from that. Although I didn't call him Brian. My brother John did. Although I would have named him something, so...

I spent a lot of time with my A1200. I've spent a lot of time with Brian. We've done a lot of work together, and played a lot of games. And spent a lot of time on the internet. I've probably spent more time with him than with most people. Sad but true.

Ah, look at me, I'm rambling incoherently. Again.

Here's to Brian! One year old yesterday.

Part of me wishes I'd never have to replace him...

I have been mostly.... READING: han solo and the lost legacy (brian daley) / WATCHING: european grand prix (itv)

Sunday, June 29

I wasn't going to post, but I think I ought to. If I don't do it now (even though all I want to do is crawl into bed and sleep) I'll have a buildup of things to blog about and... it won't be pretty. Of course, blogging when I'm half asleep isn't the best idea. Constructing sentences and getting my fingers to type the letters in the right order is a lot harder than usual. Oh well...

Today I went to Harriet and Will's wedding. I met them at the church I go to - Ali'd been going there for years, so she knows Harriet and Will far better than I do, but still. I was invited to Harriet's Hen Day, which I talked about. And today was the occasion of their excellent wedding festivities. Honestly, I've never been to such a fantastic wedding! I've never even heard of anything quite so fantastic. It was absolutely amazing.

The day began, oddly enough, with the wedding. This took place in the "All Nations Centre" - the Leicester Christian Fellowship building - on (wait for it) Frog Island. It was an excellent service, with plenty of great Christian Rock. The band was good and loud, with raucous drumming and guitar playing to match, and the singer was really trying to make everyone clap, in an 'over the head' gig type way, but I think it was a bit too much for those who weren't used to livelier sorts of Christian worship! It was very entertaining, anyway.

After that we went to a farm in Scraptoft. First of all everyone milled around in the garden. Eventually we all sat down, ate appetiser things that came round on trays, drank, erm, drinks, and chatted. It was quite hot, and the sun came out pretty strongly. Looking at myself this evening I've definitely been a bit sunburnt. Anyway, the time soon came for the speeches!

Will's speech was very funny. He did the old 'picturing the audience naked' gag, and then proceeded to look at his new wife, Harriet. Imagining her naked, obviously. Then he turned to the audience and went, "Yeurgh!" or some other related noise of horror. There was also a hilarious double act by the two best men, one of whom writes for Graham Norton. It's impossible to write down all the things that made it funny. You'll just have to trust me when I say it was funny. Okay?

When all the speeches were over, we walked over to the farm's barn (it's a working farm), where the evening buffet was being served. Although it was clearly a barn, with concrete floor and tractors, they'd done it up really well. You walked down a red carpet, flanked by helium filled balloons tied to stones so they didn't float off. All the machinery filled parts were covered over with big white curtains. Some of Harriet's art hung from the rafters, and she'd made special banners to go on the walls. It looked really good. And when it got dark, there were fairy lights. Cool.

As we sat down, there were some exciting things on the tables. Everyone who went was given a cloth party bag, all handmade. I know they were handmade because I helped make them. I may have mentioned that. Not that I helped much. The party bag contained: a Kinder Surprise chocolate egg, a lollipop and a party popper. There was also a toy plane on each table to build (and throw at the people on other tables).

The food was really tasty. I ate too much, probably. When we'd eaten the savoury buffet food, they announced that dessert would be ice creams - from an ice cream van! How fun is that?!

Once the food was out of the way, the band started playing. I've never been to a wedding with such good music. Even the uncomfortably posh weddings I've been to have only had dodgy DJ type music at the reception. Harriet and Will had a Rhythm and Blues band, which bordered on ska a bit at times. They were really good, anyway. I think those sorts of bands are always better when they're fronted by tall, slightly scary, bald American men. ;)

So, after much dancing (not by me, I hasten to add), cake cutting, and general revelry (they'd even hired a bouncy castle), the time came for Harriet and Will to head off on their honeymoon. They walked underneath the tunnel (series of arches?) created by well wishers' arms, and made it outside. Once there, they stepped into the bucket of a digger. I'm not joking. It had a white sheet on it, and two white plastic chairs, but it was still a digger's bucket. The driver moved the bucket up so that they were way above our heads, so that Harriet could throw the bouquet, and then brought them back down to nearer the ground. Then the digger drove them to the taxi in the lane nearby, with them seated in their plastic chairs.

Wow... oh, and there were fireworks as they drove off.

I've probably missed things. I suppose Ali can fill in the things I've missed.

I'm still annoyed that someone thought I was Ali's sister, though. I know Ali's had her hair cut short (though not as short as mine), but I didn't think we looked that alike. I hate it when people think we're sisters. I don't know why it annoys me so much. It's probably more annoying when they think I'm Ali, or Ali's me. Hmm...

Hey, Daisy has a brilliant new weblog layout! Cool..!

Friday, June 27

Reasons I am happy:
  • I've handed in my last piece of uni coursework (now there's just the dissertation to do...)

  • My 'costing exercise' came back and I was given 67% (woo-hoo!) - they liked the plan I spent ages making with the scanner and tracing paper and various other things. Silly me.

  • When I've handed my dissertation in on the 17th September I'll be able to spend a couple of weeks on a dig... except it's so secret I'm not allowed to tell anyone about it, so forget I said that. ;)

  • I'm going home on Monday for a few days, for a rest, although my dissertation supervisor's given me some reading..! That'll be fun.

  • The CD's I ordered came from Hong Kong - I only had the despatch notifications yesterday, how fast was that?!

  • I had a voucher to get £5 of clubcard points when I spent over £10 at WHSmith, so I bought the new Stargate DVD, and it only cost me slightly over £10!

  • I spent some time tonight doing html, which I hadn't had time for in ages, and I've worked out how to do new things, and it was brilliant!!!

Is that everything? It seems like a lot of good things. I got a bit carried away there towards the end.

RP isn't making me so happy, but I reckon it'll work out in the end. It will if I have anything to say about it, anyway...

Mwahahahaha. ;)

I have been mostly.... LISTENING: statues (moloko); the ultimate collection (kinks) / READING: han solo and the lost legacy (brian daley)

Thursday, June 26

Hey, I found my comb! It was in my bass guitar case. I guess if I practiced more often I would have found it sooner. ;)

I think my project's pretty much done. I have a few changes to make in the morning, but it's... it's okay, I think. I have a horrible feeling that everything I'm handing in is really awful... Oh well. Not much I can do about it now. I'll print it off on the uni free laserjet, get the colour sheets photocopied, maybe buy some foldery binder things...

Plus it's over the 5,000 word limit, which is either a good thing or a bad thing. Hmm.

You may have noticed that I've changed my desktop to a Look Around You wallpaper. This is to celebrate the news that the spoof 1970's educational science programme is going to be released on DVD! And I can't believe I'm that bothered. I've never seen it. But everything I've heard and seen about it has been so hilarious... The man featured in the picture is none other than Peter Serafinowicz. You know, the voice of Darth Maul. Duane Benzie in Spaced.

Check out this archived page for taste of Look Around You madness. ;)

That's all I have to say, really.

I have been mostly.... WATCHING (TV): alias (sky 1); angel (sky 1); time team: the big dig (channel 4) / LISTENING: Triple J / READING: to kill a mockingbird (harper lee)

Wednesday, June 25

Incidentally, talking about Pierce Brosnan being Bond, I used to like Goldeneye. But I think it might have been because of Sean Bean.

*madly prints photomicrographs*

Oh.... woooow... you can preorder the "Look Around You" DVD!

But it's not out until 13th October...

Tuesday, June 24

Here is a list of internet related accomplishments I'm particularly proud of, in no particular order:
  • I'm the 8th highest poster at Revolution's Forum:
    FieryFred 22 (new topics) 160 (replies) 182 (total)

  • I was promoted at Zotria Dimension, and I think I'm turning out some decent fiction, so... yay!

  • Jaffa Kree was a cool pick at SciFi.com

  • My Indiana Jones crossover's in the Stargate SG-1 Fan Fiction Awards 2003, although it won't win because a MacGyver fic's bound to. Boo...

  • The PopPopMan website I made for my Dad, because I just like the clean design, or something.

  • This weblog design, too, because I think the table monkey, inline frame and everything came together nicely.

  • My weblog's the 10th highest result for "spacemonkey" at Google...

  • ...and the 2nd (4th?) highest result for "Helen Berrington", because that Take That loving not me has overtaken me (she never did reply to my communication!).

I guess I'm running out of stuff to write in that list. It seemed like a good idea when I started. ;)

I've got about 3,000 words of my project done, but the 8MB attachment of photomicrographs might never make it through the e-mail system. (What was he thinking?!) And if you were wondering, photomicrographs are pictures taken through microscopes. Clever, eh?

I still have all the difficult 'there is no right answer' stuff to write, though. Boo...

I have been mostly.... PLAYING: deus ex

Hey, I know what I forgot to say... my Nan and Grandad phoned up last night. And there were further developments on the "Mark is my young man" front, see. Grandad wanted to know if Mark was, "Any more special" yet, or if we were still, "Just friends" (in a knowing voice). Apparently he wants plenty of advance warning about the wedding so that he can save up for a decent wedding present. My Nan kept telling him off. It was quite entertaining!

I'd better have a bath and start typing that project up...

I won't be using the laptop in the bath. Just so as you know. It probably says that's not a good idea, somewhere in the manual. ;)

Monday, June 23

Me again. I think the test was okay, although there were parts none of us were sure about. I definitely spotted a lot of calcite, some of which was twinned, so... (heh, minerals, they're great).

Anyway, I scribbled down some very dodgy decriptions of pottery fabrics using the binocular microscopes, so now I just have to write everything up. He did say to measure some of the minerals in the thin sections, but I'm not sure I have time. I suppose I can always go back and do some if I do have time, but I only have until Friday to come up with some profound archaeological insights. *sigh*

I thought there was something interesting I wanted to say, but I can't think what it was. Hmm.... nope, nothing there.

It's Wimbledon time, there's no Neighbours for two weeks! Alas. ;)

I guess I'll just go back to what I was doing, then!

I have been mostly.... WATCHING (TV): firefly (sci-fi) / LISTENING: feel good time (pink); forever more (moloko); bart klepka game remixes / PLAYING: deus ex

Sunday, June 22

Sorry about not blogging for a while. I know I get annoyed when people don't update for ages, although I'm sure I don't blog about interesting enough things to have hordes of people clamouring to know what I've been up to. If you know what I mean.

The reason I haven't been blogging is that I've been working a lot. And I still have an enormous amount to do. Apart from the ceramics project I have to write up for Friday (looking at thin sections of Iron Age and Anglo-Saxon pottery that contain granodiorite) I have a practical petrology test tomorrow. I'm quite worried about it. I'm not really sure how to do the hand specimen stuff at all, and the other half of the test (with microscopes) isn't going to be much better. And the project... well, I'm not sure if we're coming up with the right results. Different archaeologists keep wandering by while we're working and saying things like, "Oh, we reckoned there was a lot of flint in those, I hope your results agree with us," and of course they're all saying different things. Eleni and I are new to this stuff - they're supposed to be the experts! Although most of them don't know how to do thin section analyses... so if we're doing it right we know something they don't. It's just the "if we're doing it right" part that's the problem...

I did have a bit of time off yesterday, though, because I went to a Hen Party. Well, it was kind of a Hen Day and evening. We went to Bradgate Park for a walk and tea and cakes at the nice tea shop, then we got changed and headed off to see Buddy - the musical about Buddy Holly's life. It was very good. I hadn't really expected to enjoy it, but I did. And after that we went to a restaurant for dinner. It was fun! Although I had a headache, which was annoying... Harriet (the bride to be) looked great as a pink fairy (she was forced to wear a tiara, pink hair stuff, pink t-shirt, glittery wings and carry a sceptre). :)

Can't really think about this enough to make coherent sentences. Hmm....

The toilet is fixed. Ali looked in some book and found out what part was broken - it was the thing I thought was broken, although my lack of detail meant my guess was completely useless. But she made Phil from down the road come and fix it, so... hooray!

And if I sounded like I was being really horrible about Ali, I didn't mean it. At the moment I feel very stressed, so I'm not really thinking about such things. Anyway, I'm only mean about people I like a lot, and it's not fair to be mean about people aren't ever likely to read this, so...

Better go and catch up on some other internetty things.


I have been mostly.... WATCHING (TV): neighbours (bbc 1) / READING: sting (wensley clarkson) / LISTENING: feel good time (pink); tilt (lightning seeds); forever more (moloko)

Wednesday, June 18

I went into uni for 10.30am today and I only really stopped working at about 9.30pm. That's quite a long day's work. And it doesn't seem to actually amount to much. I suppose there are things in my head that weren't there before, or something. I don't think Ali believes that I'm actually doing work. I didn't even get back from uni until 5.20pm. I had a break while I watched Neighbours, and I phoned home for half an hour or something, but that's it. I ought to feel worthy, or something.

The reason I phoned home to get some hints about our broken toilet. Ali actually said that if we left it alone it might get better. I hadn't noticed that that generally worked with broken things. Ah well.

Using my rather incomplete knowledge about the inner workings of toilets, I have discovered that it's the plungery type thing inside the cistern that's broken. The bit that pushes the water through the system. The handle's fine, it just doesn't have any pressure. It's not moving any water anywhere. It's been gradually getting worse for a while, so it's not like it's a surprise it's finally died. So it's onto manual "pouring buckets of water from a great height" flushing until the landlady pays out for a plumber. Or attempts to mend it herself and floods the entire house. Or worse, some sort of enormous geyser type thing happens and we all die.

It's Ali's house, so she's the landlady, just in case you were wondering. :p

She doesn't seem to blog much these days, so maybe I can get away with talking about her. Mwahahaha.

Enough about toilets!

I have been mostly.... WATCHING (TV): neighbours (bbc 1) / READING: sting (wensley clarkson) / LISTENING: hours (david bowie); feel good time (pink)

Tuesday, June 17

Kinda tired. And still headachey - that's 12 days straight now, although I reckon the weather's got a lot to do with it. For I am Helen, the human barometer. :p

Figured I ought to post something, anyway.

Working in the library is a lot nicer now all the undergrads have gone away. For a while yesterday I was the only person on the side of the floor I was on. And that's a lot of square metreage. (Is that a word? You know, I don't care.)

I am panicking slightly about my ceramics project. It's 5,000 words of complicated gubbins, and I haven't got much to show for it so far. I've been researching away in the library, but things aren't going too well. I hate it when people reference things, you look up where they said they got stuff from, and you can't see it. What's with that? Boo hoo.

Still, I have until next Friday. (Yikes!)

It's been verrry hot the past couple of days. I've used up all my orange squash.

Um... this is a cool site. If you like Lego it is, anyway...

I have been mostly.... WATCHING (TV): neighbours (bbc 1); firefly (scifi); spooks (bbc 1); macgyver (bravo) / READING: sting (wensley clarkson)

Sunday, June 15

Wow, look at the tracker go!

I've been doing a lot of work, which I won't bore you with, and eating various drugs and stuff like that. But last night I had a strenuous lightsaber duel with a Sith Lord called Joseph.

Basically, I went round someone's house for dinner, along with a few other people on my MA course. The person whose house it was has a five year old son called (you guessed it) Joseph. First of all he fought Jono, and Jono got bored (or tired, I don't know which), so he made me fight the boy. And he was pretttty violent. I have bruises on my hands this morning. Those plastic lightsabers are hard, but.... oh so cool. ;)

They have motion sensors in them so they make all the right noises. And they light up. And they just feel nice. (Nice is a bad word, but they do feel nice. Cool. Whatever.)

First of all it started off with general duelling. It's actually harder to fight with both hands on the hilt, which is how you're supposed to fight with lightsabers. The only Jedi to fight one handed was Ki-Adi-Mundi, whose fight scene was cut from Attack of the Clones, so I guess you'll have to take my word for it. Unless you are privy to the same information that I am, in which case you'll be able to sagely nod and we can both feel proud that we know something so useless.

Anyway... after a while it turned into serious roleplay. He was Darth Vader, and I was Luke, so he got to seriously injure me a lot. And he used force lightning (although he insisted it was 'electricity') and also the old force push to send me flying to the ground. Then it got even more bizarre, because I had to talk to the Emperor (who was sitting on an empty bench). He had to keep telling me what to say. Mind you, once when he told me to go and see the Emperor he said, "Go and sit with the Emperor and he can help you with your sums". It's an idea for Episode III, isn't it? Anakin goes to the dark side because he's having trouble with his trigonometry.

It made a change, anyway.

Even if he did know far too much about the prequels. ;)

I have been mostly.... WATCHING (TV): canadian grand prix (itv) / READING: sting (wensley clarkson); edge magazine

Saturday, June 14

Figured I'd post something before I have lunch. It's been a while, and I won't be online tonight because I'm actually going out! Yes, I'm going out, but it's nothing too exciting. I'm going round one of the uni staff's houses, with the other 4 people on my course. Hopefully it'll be fun. As long as I feel okay. Because not feeling okay was why I wasn't online yesterday. IYKWIM. :)

Just a few things, then (a phrase which usually means I ramble on for ages, but hey):

Mr Monkey's World of Hats. Everyone should go here and spend a while browsing, because it's highly amusing. All the other Mr Monkey sites are highly amusing, too, but the hat thing was the first thing I saw. Heh heh.

The Italian Job remake. Now, I can't spoil you too much because I've only seen the trailer, but... can it all be true? They steal some gold from a safe in Venice. One of the team takes the gold, probably laughing evilly as he does so, and the rest of the film's about them trying to get the gold back. It takes place in L.A. They create the biggest traffic jam in L.A. history. They race around L.A. in New Minis. They copy bits of the original film's chases, such as the sewer stuff, but it all looks a bit too shiny and not as real as the original. I can't help but think this is a bad idea. I only saw the Michael Caine version a few days ago, but I think in all likelihood the MacGyver version - the Hungarian Job, if you will, was a more fitting homage. I wish they wouldn't remake films... And why bother giving the characters the same names? It's not The Italian Job. Why pretend it is? If anything it's a very long advert for New Mini, and I reckon the actual New Mini adverts are probably more interesting... I particularly like "ad hop", which you may have seen at the cinema. And one with the zombies was just classic. Excellent...

Birefringence. After all Daisy's hinting, I finally started my own RP. Since it's my first, I'm not really sure what I'm doing, but it seems to be going okay so far. I took strange pleasure from writing Darrien's horseriding into it. I haven't ridden a horse for many years, but I think I might like to at some point in the future. Ah well. Much angst ahead. :)

That's about it, and I really should go and eat lunch and try to do some work.

(Yaay, the tracker's working!)

Over the last few days I have been mostly.... WATCHING (TV): neighbours (bbc 1); last ever ep of buffy (sky 1); totp (bbc 1); friends (c4); have I got news for you (bbc 1) / READING: sting (wensley clarkson); edge magazine / LISTENING: claire's birthday

Wednesday, June 11

Oooh, my weblog's been migrated! I have a new funky looking (funky in a good way, I never use it to mean anything else but people keep checking) screen here. It's nice. It's blue. Mmmmmmm.

Thought I'd better blog because I won't be around tonight, in all likelihood. I spent ages drawings a grid onto a plan this morning. I was trying to work out how many metres some 'areas of archaeological interest' measured, so that I can decide where trenches ought to be dug, you see. We're only supposed to dig 3% of the site. And it's all theoretical, in case you were wondering, it won't actually happen. I just have to decide how much to machine and how much to dig by hand...

Anyway, I'll do some more of that after lunch.

In other news, NTL did acknowledge that their mail system isn't working properly. They posted the server information on Monday, though, and it hadn't been working for a while before that. Strange but true.

ntl Home - All Packages - Mail Service

ntl:Home Internet customers using the ntlworld mail service may be experiencing intermittent problems accessing the service, this is because of a technical fault on one of our mail storage servers.

Our engineers are aware of this issue and working on a resolution.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

Bah, apologies mean nothing, I want my mail!!!

Ethan Hawke was in Alias on Monday. It was very cool, again. Yaay for Alias. :)

And guess what I did last night? I went to see Raiders of the Lost Ark at the cinema! Not many people went to see it, which was strange. I mean, it only cost £3 (normally tickets cost £5.20 or something), and it's a great film. Isn't it? They put it on in the smallest screen, and it wasn't full up. Still, by telling people I knew I managed to get a group of 12 together, so... obviously my friends have good taste. ;)

The only down side was that the print was a bit tatty. This is understandable, since the film's been around since 1981, but I wasn't expecting it to be so bad. I've seen It's a Wonderful Life and Blade Runner at the cinema, but those must have been newer prints. The Blade Runner print was early 90's, I think, because it was the one done by the "Blade Runner Partnership", or whatever they're called - the directors cut version, not the voiceover version. Anyway, those prints looked fine. Raiders had some problems.

It was very crackly in places, and some parts had weird green line/blob type things. But what was weirder was that in places it jumped sections of the film. It must have been too damaged, so they just snipped bits out. The most noticeable thing was when they were running from the about to explode plane, and then the plane was a smoking hulk. No explosion. So sad. In a way, though, this made it more exciting. Gave it a sense of history. Maybe I'm reading too much into this. But it's not like the people watching hadn't seen the film before. ;)

I always like the way you can see the separating glass in the scenes in the "Well of Souls". Where you can see the snakes' reflections. Hee... Classic.

I know they didn't really advertise it, but people just turning up to watch anything were choosing things like Anger Management over Raiders... which I found odd. I'll have to keep an eye out for other Flashback showings. Mr Random's local cinema showed stuff like Ghostbusters as well. Now that would be fun.

Hmm, I really should go and eat lunch.

And do some archaeology. ;)

I have been mostly.... WATCHING (CINEMA): raiders of the lost ark / READING: run baby run (nicky cruz); sting (wensley clarkson)

Monday, June 9

Well, I don't think the tracker's working still. Ali thought of a way I could get the right code (apparently there's different code if you want to put it in a table), so... But since she e-mailed it, who knows when it'll turn up? Considering I've had my computer online most of the time over the weekend, and it downloads every 5 minutes, it's only downloaded things from my main account four or five times. And I know it's not downloading everything. Sometimes it downloads more than one thing, too. It doesn't normally take them this long to fix it. :(


My placement talk went okay. In the end I went with the comedy version, and it went down quite well. :)

Goodnight then!

I have been mostly.... WATCHING (TV): neighbours (bbc 1); macgyver (bravo); alias (sky 1) / READING: run baby run (nicky cruz) / LISTENING: merz

Sunday, June 8

Oh, and you can see Buffy/Fray's scythe in the pic on this page, too. Cool, no?

Ages since I last blogged... I was a bit disillusioned because it only looked like one person visited yesterday. I was kind of thinking, "What's the point?" I'd looked at my eXTReMe tracker, you see. Then I looked at the Bravenet counter and it said ten people had visited. Still not loads, but better. I don't think that tracker's been working properly for a while. If you've ever noticed errors in loading (javascript type ones) then it's because of that tracker. It kept putting &'s into the code - there were hundreds of them! And it was messing things up. I think I've fixed it now, though. I can't be sure, since I couldn't see a way to copy the code off of their website. So I just fiddled with it. :)

What have I done, then... it was Wednesday I last wrote anything... well, I managed to finish my illustration portfolio, archaeological reconstruction and written up seminar presentation, so that's three bits of coursework out of the way. I had ceramics on Thursday, and the nice man teaching us was getting annoyed at our apparent lack of knowledge. Ah well. And Ali and I went to Rob, Jonathan and Emma's house in the evening, which was fun. ;)

My brother John came to visit on Friday afternoon. He was testing his car, he just wanted someone a fair distance away he could visit to make sure it was okay. He's driving to Cardiff next weekend, for the Speedway Grand Prix. Anyway, while he was here I made him:

  • Hang the framed Indy poster on the wall in the living room
  • Fix the light fitting in the dining room
  • Sand down the back gate so that it fitted properly

The picture hanging was interesting. The first lot of screws he did he hadn't drilled the holes straight, and it was very wonky. He tried to bodge it by hitting them with a hammer, and wrapping sellotape around the lower screw, but it didn't work. The screws were about 1cm different. So the second lot, he drew a line using the spirit level. I think it was an oversight that he didn't do that the first time. Now it's perfect. :)

And he made the back gate, so it's only right that he finally finish the job. It did go into the frame, if you were extremely violent, and it didn't open very easily. Now we need a padlock to keep it shut! Amazing.

This weekend though, hmm, I haven't really done much. I've written the report about my placement, which was only possible due to my weblog archives. I would never have been able to remember everything I did, otherwise. That was why I was sorting out the archives, you see. (Now everything becomes clear!)

I don't feel very eloquent tonight. *sniff*

I watched last week's Buffy and Angel episodes this afternoon, while I ate my lunch. (Not that it took an hour and a half to eat my lunch!) I was very excited to see Fray's 'scythe' was in the penultimate episode. That 'slayer of the future' comic is very good. It's a shame it's taken Joss Whedon so long to get it out into the public realm, but hey. There's only one more issue, then it's over... Much like there's only one more Buffy episode. Although that promises to be a spectacle and a half..! Or an unforgettable experience... whatever you want to call it. ;)

And I watched Ghost in the Shell last night. That was good. And it was like Blade Runner, kind of.

Hmm, animated goodness.

Over the last few days I have been mostly.... WATCHING (TV): neighbours (bbc 1); buffy (sky 1); angel (sky 1) / WATCHING (DVD): the italian job; ghost in the shell; stargate series 6 - prometheus / READING: fried green tomatoes at the whistlestop cafe (fannie flagg) / LISTENING: our house (madness); brand new day (sting); laika come home (spacemonkeyz vs gorillaz)

Saturday, June 7

Hmm, I think my archives are kind of up to date and working now.

Famous last words.

Will blog later. :)

Wednesday, June 4

I can't really think of anything to say.

I saw an amusing newspaper board outside a shop today (you know those boards that carry the major headline or whatever, to make you buy the paper?). It read:

"1885 jobs today in the Leicester Mercury."

I think my brain's a bit twisted, because I thought of... chimney sweeps. And people who make hats.

Ah well.

It's been bothering me (ever since I walked past) that I can't remember what people who make hats are called. Drat...

John's car is going to cost about £800 to fix. He's going to end up paying about £400 of that, and the dodgy dealer's paying the other half.

Hmm... what else...

Yesterday I signed up with the BBC's Fightbox competition, just to see what it's like. I read about it in last month's Edge magazine. It's a new TV show, you see. You download the "fightkit", create an avatar (there are various body parts to choose from), and train it. Eventually there'll be qualifying rounds, and the scores will be uploaded to the BBC. The best warriors will get to be in the TV programme.

The programme itself is the interesting part. Your avatar has to compete against a bunch of elite warriors ("sentients"), and when it's broadcast it'll look like the warriors are actually fighting in a studio arena. The warriors are keyed onto an actual set, with an audience, and the camera men will see the warriors and the studio in their viewfinders. They'll be able to film it like an actual sporting event.

So, I was a bit bored (or my brain had melted from doing archaeological illustration for too long, or both) so I downloaded it. At first glance, it doesn't seem all that well done. You put your avatar together, fine, then you have two training arenas to practice in. The first is a combat training exercise, against scary droids with lasers. Straight away I was annoyed by the collision detection. You're pressing forward, and not moving because you're up against the droid, but your punches and kicks don't connect. Why is that? And the thing's so slow. If you want to jump over a laser beam, there's not much chance that you'll make it. By the time the warrior's gotten around to jumping, you've already had a laser through your leg.

The second arena is one with moving columns. You're supposed to jump from column to column, doing laps. I didn't manage to get very far at all... it's all too easy to fall down a big pit of oblivion. I know I haven't always been that good at jumping (Half Life training exercises spring to mind) but I have managed it in the end. I'm not sure I'll manage it, this time around... I wonder if the control aspects are easier with a gamepad? They do recommend using a USB gamepad with it. I could buy one and find out, I suppose.

It's a good idea then, but is the Fightbox software good enough? I don't know. The website's forum was full of people voicing similar concerns, so I know it's not just me. I'd like to know what sorts of scores people are managing - one person kept boasting of his 10K scores. I've only managed 1010 on the combat trainer, although I am improving the more time I spend with it. I don't know whether he was lying, or whether he's rubbish. Probably the latter.

Anyway, I had an e-mail today:


I see that you are registered on the FightBox website.

I'm currently trying to compose on-line profiles from the Registered FightBox users.

We are randomly tackling the list of registered users and are keen to have a chat with anyone who is determined to qualify to be on the TV show.

If this is you, send me an email with your telephone number and a current photo of yourself and I'll give you a call soon.



I wondered if it was genuine, then I figured it probably was. It doesn't say my e-mail address on the BBC's site, so... I don't think I'll reply, though. I mean, if people are getting 10K+ scores, I'd never be able to compete with them! And with all my misgivings, I might not even stick with the program once the novelty's worn off. Because, even though the collision detection's awful, and my poor avatar keeps getting sliced by lasers, it is a bit addictive. ;)

They must be desperate to ask brand new recruits.


Oh, finally finished that Star Wars prequel novel I was reading. Complex political drama? Maybe, but certainly not exciting. I was getting excited over Bail Antilles. That can't be right. :)

Better go now.

I have been mostly.... WATCHING (TV): neighbours (bbc 1); macgyver (bravo) / READING: star wars - cloak of deception (james luceno); fried green tomatoes at the whistlestop cafe (fannie flagg) / LISTENING: electro glide in blue (apollo 440); tomb raider soundtrack (various) ; grace (jeff buckley); sketches for my sweetheart the drunk (jeff buckley)

Monday, June 2

Oh, that was what I meant to say! Yesterday I updated the roleplay page. I'm confusing my brain by trying to figure out how I can weave certain things into all the RP's I'm taking part in. I had an idea about Darrien's direction. I figure it might make a good RP, if I ever get up the bravery to start one!

I think about this stuff too much. ;)

I had things I wanted to say. Can't... remember...

First thing... remember my brother's car? His new Peugeot 306? That leaked diesel everywhere? It had a new petrol tank fitted, then it leaked diesel all over the garage forecourt, then it turned out it was a part that joined onto the petrol tank? Well, he had it serviced. Or rather, he asked a reputable garage to tell him what needed to be done. And wow, the list was long. In the process of getting the leaking problem 'fixed', they broke numerous other things. And other things were just plain broken anyway. Wheels were held on by one nut. Brake discs were leaking. Basically, the car's not safe to drive. They obviously had a really thorough service performed before they sold it... *sarcastic voice*

Having said that, apparently the engine sounds good. ;)

Second thing... my watch is better. Apparently. I mashed the buttons while I was waiting for the church service to begin on Sunday, and it reset! It thought it was the 1st January 1995 (presumably that's the date the watch defaults to), but now it seems to be fine. Weird. Mark said had the same problem with his Timex watch, so he'd have fixed it if I hadn't happened upon the solution by chance. I guess I'll have two watches, then. This one was getting a bit tatty...

Third thing... still wading through archaeological illustration coursework. I spent from about 11am until about 3.30pm drawing a plan, which isn't great, but hopefully it'll make the grade. :)

Fourth thing... Alias was so cool tonight! It was the 13th episode of series 2 - Phase One. Wow... it had everything!

Spoilers ahead... highlight to read... Sloane's replaced as the head of SD-6 by a new guy (Geiger), played by none other than Rutger Hauer! He discovers that Sydney and her Dad are double agents, and tortures Syd's dad. Meanwhile, Syd and the CIA uncover information that means they can launch attacks on all the SD cells, thereby ending the Alliance once and for all. At some point here Francie and Will kiss. Maybe they're going to get together. They're happy! Then the CIA raid the buildings, successfully, and Syd rescues her Dad. In the aftermath, Syd kisses Vaughn, with one of those long 'camera goes all the way round' type kisses. And then comes the end. Sloane set it all up. He wanted Syd and her Dad to find the information and defeat the Alliance. What's his plan? Well, the episode ended with Francie dead, and an imposter in her place. Ooooh, can things get any more exciting? *chandler voice*

There might have been other stuff, but I've run out of writing juice.

Goodnight. :)

I have been mostly... WATCHING (DVD): stargate series 6 / WATCHING (TV): neighbours (bbc 1); macgyver (bravo); alias (sky 1) / READING: star wars - cloak of deception (james luceno) / LISTENING: big band small world 2 (jools holland and friends)

Sunday, June 1

Wow, the adverts at the top are advertising pirate goods! Arrrr.

Everyone laughs when they hear that I'm listening to Estonian music at the moment. Especially when they find out that it's the band Ruffus, who represented Estonia at the song contest. I think it's time to defend my choice of listening. :)

After talking to an Estonian DJ on the Revolution Forum (it's amazing who you meet around the internet by accident) I discovered that the reason I couldn't find any information about them is because they used to be called Claire's Birthday. Apparently one of the band members left, possibly more than one, so they changed their name.

Anyway, after failing to find anywhere I could buy any of their albums, I decided to try and download their songs via Kazaa. It's hard, because there don't seem to be a lot of people sharing Estonian music (even when they are the biggest thing in Estonia since sliced bread). But I have managed to scrape together a fair few MP3's...

Let me explain why I like them, then... The easy way to explain is to say... they're Britpop. Britpop was never well defined, due to the sheer number of bands that the term encompassed. And the bands have changed, too. Bands like Blur, which started off being fairly cheeky, have ended up doing serious experimental stuff. Not that this is a bad thing. But most of the bands that appeared in the early 90's have grown up. I find it intriguing that you can look to Eastern Europe, to places like Latvia (remember BrainStorm?) and Estonia, and reminisce about Britpop. And it's not just derivative stuff. This is good Britpop. If it had been around here in the early 90's, it would have done well.

Their album Venus (2000) has a song on it called... Venus. Whenever I hear it, I think Pulp. Yes, I keep wanting to head off into Disco 2000. Or else I get Disco 2000 in my head and want to head off into Venus. He's copying Jarvis Cocker, completely and utterly, and he's doing it well! He's even doing the strange talky bits that Jarvis does. Excellent...! And then there's Natural Blonde Girls, which has the clean, happy sort of sound that you can only ever associate with The Divine Comedy. There's even a bit of "ba, ba ba ba baa" singing, the sort that Neil Hannan is so keen on.

City Loves (2001) is a lot harder in tone, at least from the tracks I've managed to get my hands on. It's heading into Oasis territory. When you listen to tracks like Penguins and Stones, he has the perfect northern drawl. The guitar's serious stuff, the drumming's the sort with lots of cymbal action... all in all, it's tougher than Venus. Personally I was on Blur's side in the Blur / Oasis shootout, but this is still good stuff.

Their album Future is Now! (2003) has several instrumental tracks on it, which remind me of Blur - there aren't many bands that do good instrumental tracks. Coward's Anthem, Logic Rock and Jazzodrome - they're all kinda funky. And Learning to Dance is just very Blur. It has Blur written all over it. If the lead singer was trying to copy Damon Albarn's vocal style, he succeeded. Although he enunciates better than Damon. Which reminds me of the, "when I feel like an arctic roll" debacle. :)

Now, clearly I like this band because they're not unlike other bands I like. But that's not to say that all their music is derivative. They've created some really original, catchy tunes. And even the stuff that is like other bands is done so well that you can't help but like it. You like it because it's like other bands, sure, but it's good enough to be liked. It's not some inferior, slightly pathetic attempt at a direct copy. It's using music as a base and jumping off into new directions. It's showing us what some of the greatest British bands might have produced if they hadn't grown up, or broken up...

Yes, songs like Licence to Love and, of course, Eighties Coming Back are very, very catchy. And songs like Gloria are eerie, and melodic. It's all good stuff.

When you see the rubbish that makes it to the top of the UK chart these days, it's good to know decent British guitar bands are doing well somewhere. Even if they are, erm, Estonian. ;)

I have been mostly... WATCHING (TV): monaco grand prix (itv); firefly (sci-fi) / READING: star wars - cloak of deception (james luceno); indiana jones and stargate comics / LISTENING: future is now (claire's birthday); venus (claire's birthday); city loves (claire's birthday)

He has a bowler hat, go figure.


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